Sunday, July 18, 2010

Alma - Chapter 39

I sense that this chapter is primarily about pornography and voyeurism or as Alma puts it "the lusts of your eyes."  It could be that Corianton's sin went beyond that to fornication, but I doubt it because, after repenting, he went right back to work as a missionary.  Alma makes it very plain, that whatever Corianton had done it was grievous on two levels.

The first is the personal devastation to the participant for it "steals away" their hearts.  The first commandment is to "... love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind."  When we allow our hearts to be stolen away by the perniciousness of lust we find ourselves neither loving the Lord, nor ourselves.  We find ourselves having spent our strength and lost our minds and harmed our souls.

And, second we no longer love our neighbor, the second commandment.  As Alma points out, Corianton's bad example did great harm to the hearts of others, who used his misbehavior to justify their own and who discounted his teachings because of his incongruent choices.

Such is the nature of lust.  It supplants love.  It is selfish.  It is foolish.  It does not build or strengthen.  It only destroys.  Oh, that we lived in a day when the only purveyor of porn was over on the "borders of the Lamanites."  Now-a-days it is readily available right in our own homes.  It is stealing away hearts in epidemic proportions and breaking hearts at an alarming rate even among the Latter-day Saints.

Alma's counsel to Corianton with regard to repentance was wonderful:
Refrain from your iniquities.
Turn to the Lord with all your might, mind and strength,
Make amends, by returning to those you've offended and "acknowledge your faults and the wrong which you have done."
 Counsel with your brethren
Today, Latter-day Saints who've succumbed to pornography are given the same counsel, to great effect.  I don't know a Bishop who hasn't helped a ward member or several to deal with the same problem Corianton had.  We'll learn later on that Corianton overcame the "lusts of his eyes" and so can we; through the blessed Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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